The Many, the Proud, the Marathoners
Lukens, Joanne, The Washington Times (Washington, DC)
Byline: Joanne Lukens
Oprah Winfrey ran it in 1994. Al Gore crossed the finish line in 1998. So it's true that some of the new popularity of the U.S. Marine Corps Marathon can be traced to celebrity attraction.
But this 26.2-mile run through the nation's capital, whose 26th annual running is scheduled this year for Oct. 28, isn't called "the People's Marathon" for nothing. What makes it most appealing is that unlike other well-known marathons in Boston, New York and Chicago, this one does not require registrants to post qualifying times.
"It's a race that accommodates both the professional runner and the amateur," says Jennifer Robinson, public relations coordinator for the race.
Whatever the reason, the marathon is so far "in" that its official Web site, www.marinemarathon.com, logged 65,000 hits for 5,000 spots in the first minute of online registration last April. The second day's registration saw the next 5,000 spots go as quickly. The remaining were filled by lottery.
Marathons were relatively new in 1975, when the Marine Corps held its first to promote better relations between Marines and civilians after the Vietnam War. Fewer than 1,200 runners participated in the first race. This year, an estimated 17,000 runners will take their mark at 8:30 a.m. at the United States Marine Memorial, better known as the Iwo Jima Memorial, in Arlington.
Forty-six percent of them, Ms. Robinson says, will be first-time marathoners.
Partly because of such programs as the Jeff Galloway Marathon Training Program, which espouses a run-walk theory of long-distance running, novices of both sexes and all ages have flocked to the event.
Once a race of mostly men in their 20s and 30s, the Marine Corps Marathon now registers almost as many women as men. The mean age of runners has …
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Publication information: Article title: The Many, the Proud, the Marathoners. Contributors: Lukens, Joanne - Author. Newspaper title: The Washington Times (Washington, DC). Publication date: October 18, 2001. Page number: 14. © 2009 The Washington Times LLC. COPYRIGHT 2001 Gale Group.
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